Over Half of all Americans Favor National Recognition for Same-Sex Marriages New Poll Reveals that Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Also Support Marriage Equality

NEW YORK and WASHINGTON, July 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- This week, President Obama endorsed repeal of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, arguing that it is unconstitutional to deny same-sex marriages equal recognition by the federal government or for the federal government to stand in the way of any state that chooses to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. (Today marriage equality for same-sex couples is the law in six states as well as Washington, D.C.) A new national poll released today suggests that more than half of all Americans support the White House position.

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According to the latest survey conducted by Harris Interactive, more than half (53%) of all U.S. adults agreed that regardless of their own personal views, "a same-sex marriage legally granted in one state should be recognized as a legal marriage in all other states in the same way generally that heterosexual marriages are recognized across state lines." Just as significantly, 49% of all U.S. adults say they "support the right for same-sex couples to marry," when contrasted with 41% who oppose the right, and 10% who are not at all sure.

The new nationwide online survey of 2,397 U.S. adults, (ages 18 and over), of whom 358 self identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT), was conducted between July 11 and July 18, 2011, by Harris Interactive, a global market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise on LGBT issues.  

Given the nation's changing attitudes towards marriages between same-sex partners, the study also questioned LGBT adults about their choices where to live and work – given the contrast between states that offer or deny equal marriage rights for same-sex partners today. [Note that these respondents were asked to assume they live currently in a state with equal marriage rights, in order to test their attitudes.] The study found:

  • Four out of ten (46%) lesbian and gay adults say they would "consider changing jobs if my employer required me to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized."
  • 48% of all lesbian and gay adults also agreed they "would consider declining a job promotion if it required me to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized" and,
  • Most significant of all, over 3/4 (78%) of lesbian and gay adults said that "other factors being equal, I would prefer a job with an employer in a state where same sex marriages are recognized over an employer in a state that does not recognize same sex marriages.

"According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, there now are between 50,000 to 80,000 legally married same-sex couples in the U.S.," noted Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications. "And with the historic new law in New York making marriage equality official this weekend; hundreds more will soon join them."

"These strong trends are truly shaping America's attitudes towards and understanding of same-sex couples and LGBT families in familiar and very reassuring ways. However, there also is an emerging economic and business impact here that begs attention – as many of these LGBT families act on their instincts to favor gay-welcoming states and employers found in progressive legal climates."

The national survey also encouraged respondents to foresee new trends "if more states allow same-sex couples to marry equally as opposite-sex couples." Here are snapshots of those outcomes that both LGBT and heterosexual adults believe are "likely [or unlikely] to happen:"

  • Two-thirds or 65% of LGBT adults say "more gays and lesbians will move their families to states where marriage for same-sex couples is permitted." Over half (52%) of heterosexual adults agree.
  • Three-fourths (75%) of LGBT adults say "over time, same-sex couples will be able to marry anywhere in the United States, and nearly half (46%) of all heterosexuals concur.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of LGBT adults believe that "states that permit same-sex couples to marry will benefit economically more than other states, while over one-quarter (27%) of heterosexuals agree.
  • And when asked whether a "Constitutional Amendment to limit marriages of same-sex couples or to prevent same-sex couples from marrying" will be passed, only 8% of heterosexuals agreed along with 12% of LGBT adults.

TABLE 1

SUPPORT OR OPPOSE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

"On another subject, do you support or oppose the right for same-sex couples to legally marry?"

Base:  All U.S. adults


Total

LGBT

Heterosexual

%

%

%

Support (NET)

49

87

46

    Strongly support

30

78

26

    Somewhat support

19

9

20

Oppose (NET)

41

11

44

    Somewhat oppose

12

5

13

    Strongly oppose

29

6

31

Not at all sure

10

2

10

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.



TABLE 2

RECOGNITION OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGES

"Same-sex marriage has been legalized in several states.  Regardless if you support or oppose same-sex marriage, do you agree or disagree that a same-sex marriage legally granted in one state should be recognized as a legal marriage in all other states in the same way generally that heterosexual marriages are recognized across state lines?"

Base:  All U.S. adults


Total

LGBT

Heterosexual

%

%

%

Agree (NET)

53

87

50

    Strongly agree

36

81

33

    Somewhat agree

17

6

17

Disagree (NET)

36

10

39

    Somewhat disagree

9

3

10

    Strongly disagree

27

7

29

Not at all sure

11

3

11

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.



TABLE 3A

MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND THE WORKPLACE

"In several states and Washington, D.C. today, same sex couples are able to legally marry.  In those states, same sex couples have the same rights and benefits that are given to heterosexual couples.  Let's assume you live in one of those states (regardless where you live now or your current marital status).  How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?"

Base:  All LGBT adults


Agree (NET)

Strongly agree

Somewhat agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree (NET)

Somewhat disagree

Strongly disagree

Decline to answer

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

I would consider changing jobs if my employer required me to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized.

40

19

21

30

29

12

17

1

I would consider declining a job promotion if it required me to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized.

44

20

24

30

25

8

17

1

Other factors being equal, I would prefer a job with an employer in a state where same sec marriages are recognized over an employer in a state that does not recognize same sex marriages.

68

47

20

15

16

2

13

1

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.



TABLE 3B

MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND THE WORKPLACE

"In several states and Washington, D.C. today, same sex couples are able to legally marry.  In those states, same sex couples have the same rights and benefits that are given to heterosexual couples.  Let's assume you live in one of those states (regardless where you live now or your current marital status).  How strongly do you agree or disagree with the following statements?"

Summary of those saying "strongly agree" or "somewhat agree"

Base:  All LGBT adults


Total

Gay and Lesbian

%

%

I would consider changing jobs if my employer required me to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized.

40

46

I would consider declining a job promotion if it required me to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized.

44

48

Other factors being equal, I would prefer a job with an employer in a state where same sec marriages are recognized over an employer in a state that does not recognize same sex marriages.

68

78

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.



TABLE 4

FUTURE PREDICTIONS

"If more states decide to allow same-sex couples to marry equally as opposite-sex couples, which, if any, of the following do you think is likely to happen?"

Base:  All U.S. adults


Total

LGBT

Heterosexual

%

%

%

More gays and lesbians will choose to move their families to states where marriage for same-sex couples is permitted.

52

65

52

Over time, same-sex couples will be able to marry anywhere in the United States.

47

75

46

States that permit same-sex couples to marry will benefit economically more than other states.

30

66

27

Over time, America will pass a Constitutional Amendment to limit marriages of same-sex couples or to prevent same-sex couples from marrying.

8

12

8

None of these

14

3

14

Note: Multiple response.



Methodology

Harris Interactive conducted the study online and by telephone within the United States between July 11 and 18, 2011, among 2,397 adults (ages 18 and over), of whom 358 self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender. We over-sampled gay men and lesbians in order to allow for more detailed analysis of these groups.

Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. In addition, the results for the gay and lesbian sample were weighted separately based on profiles of the gay and lesbian population that Harris Interactive has compiled through many different online surveys. Propensity score weighting also was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

About Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.

Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc. is the nation's premier marketing communications and consulting firm, specializing in developing and implementing effective strategies reaching the gay and lesbian consumer market. With over 17 years experience in this unique market, Witeck-Combs Communications not only serves as a bridge between corporate America and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender consumers (LGBT), but also provides counsel to countless non-profit organizations that aim to educate the public on gay and lesbian issues or to better reach their LGBT membership.  

In April 2003, American Demographics magazine identified Bob Witeck and Wes Combs as two of 25 experts over the last 25 years who have made significant contributions to the fields of demographics, market research, media and trendspotting for their path breaking work on the gay and lesbian market, and in 2006 Bob Witeck and Wes Combs co-authored Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand Loyal Gay Consumers (Kaplan Publishing), considered the first-ever book on marketing insights, practical tips and strategies targeting the LGBT market. They have appeared in worldwide media outlets including Fortune, CNBC, CNN, Reuters, Associated Press, Ad Age, New York Times and Washington Post. For more information visit www.witeckcombs.com.

Press Contacts:

Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.net

Bob Witeck
Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.
202-887-0500 ext 19
info@witeckcombs.com

SOURCE Harris Interactive



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